SaveKSG meeting report 8th November 2011

The Save King’s Stairs Gardens Action Group’s public meeting last Tuesday was well attended and featured presentations from Phil Stride, assisted by Derek Arnold and Nick Tennant of Thames Water, and local MP Simon Hughes.
We told them that we are very pleased with Thames Water’s adoption of the brownfield not greenfield message (the reduced use of greenfield sites is now one of Thames Water’s headline messages in its Phase 2 documentation) and that King’s Stairs Gardens is no longer their “preferred site”.
However, the Thames Water officials were taken to task over their illogical position of keeping King’s Stairs Gardens on their shortlist for a main drive site when they have previously told us it is unsuitable for this very purpose.  Phil Stride undertook to “go away and look at” this inconsistency.  We have written to the Thames Tunnel team following the meeting to formally outline our position in this regard and again called for the park to be removed from its shortlist.
They are also preparing a response to our most recent letter where we called for King’s Stairs Gardens to be completely removed from its list because it is unsuitable as a main drive site and because Thames Water has viable alternative engineering solutions available which would enable it to avoid the area altogether.  Our letter also included a section on Thames Water’s role in green initiatives which would improve the lifespan of whichever scheme is chosen to reduce the sewage-stormwater overflows into the Thames.
We also gave an update on the Village Green application which is being processed by Southwark Council and reported on the new and very exciting news that designation of King’s Stairs Gardens as a Queen Elizabeth II Field is currently being processed.
The Queen Elizabeth II Fields challenge, headed by its Patron Prince William The Duke of Cambridge and operated by Fields in Trust, is a fantastic programme to protect outdoor recreational spaces in communities all across the country as a permanent living legacy of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics.  The Duke of Cambridge said "protecting these sites through the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will mean that millions of people, for generations to come, can take part in sports, play and enjoyment.  Many of these sites may be lost in the future if they are not protected."
The Save King’s Stairs Gardens Action Group has been working with Fields in Trust and Southwark Council on this designation.  Our park is a perfect example of a site suitable to become a Queen Elizabeth II Field given its current use and royal history.  We will keep everybody updated on the progress and thank Fields in Trust and Cllr Barrie Hargrove for their assistance and support.
The Action Group continues to work hard to have the threat to our beautiful park completely removed and to secure its long term protection.  We once again extend our thanks for everybody’s invaluable support.
It was clear from Tuesday’s meeting that we need as many people as possible to submit feedback to Thames Water’s Phase 2 consultation even if you submitted feedback for Phase 1.  Even though things now look a lot more hopeful for our park, the fact that it is still on the shortlist means it is still at risk – Simon Hughes was clear that Phil Stride’s comments meant that King’s Stairs Gardens remains their “back-up option”.  So we cannot afford to relax yet and must all respond forcefully to this new consultation.
On the Thames Water consultation website you cannot actually select King’s Stairs Gardens for feedback because it is no longer a preferred site.  However, you can still respond and should outline why the park is completely unsuitable as a worksite and call for Thames Water to remove the park from its shortlist, and of course also give your views on Chambers Wharf and any other aspects of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project.  You can find the link to the online feedback form here: